Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Savory Rhubarb Pie {AIP, Whole30, Paleo}

Since the hubster and I have started going to crossfit three times a week, and two of those times are during our usual dinner time, I've needed to up the ante a bit with food prep and meal planning - namely, planning a meal I can cook Tuesday afternoon and easily reheat Tuesday and Thursday evenings after our WOD.

An easy meal idea I came up with was Sheppard's Pie, and the hubster was happy with my choice. I am currently going through an AIP reintroduction period though, and I don't want to push things too far with tomatoes, just in case {so far, I can handle them in small doses, but if an actual sauce is too much, I don't want to find out when that's all I have ready to eat}.

I decided to make two separate dishes then, the hubster's dish using white potatoes and tomatoes, and my dish using sweet potatoes... and rhubarb.

I had originally planned on making a "no-mato" sauce of some kind, but then my eyes fell upon my pile of garden fresh rhubarb and I thought back to my yummy side dish - Roasted Rhubarb & Sweet Potatoes. The rhubarb in that dish cooks down into a delicious sauce, coating the sweet potatoes in a tangy layer of goodness. I figured they'd make a nice replacement sauce in my Sheppard's Pie.

I was right.

No, this is not hubster approved. He tasted it without me even asking him to, but he just shook his head and said, "I really don't like rhubarb." I guess that means that if you don't like rhubarb, don't make this dish. But if you are looking for a savory rhubarb dish, and one that is also AIP and Whole30 compliant, then go for it.

I know I'm truly looking forward to Thursday evening, just so I can eat the rest of it!

Savory Rhubarb Pie

  • 300 grams ground beef
  • 2 stems of rhubarb
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup bone broth (can also use water)
  • 2-4 sweet potatoes (about 400 grams)
  1. Cook sweet potatoes using your favorite method. I poked holes in them and microwaved mine for about 7 minutes. Set them aside to cool.
  2. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the ground beef and break it up a bit with a spatula.
  3. Meanwhile, slice the rhubarb into thin slices, dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add to the meat and stir to combine, breaking up the meat as you go.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally as it cooks.
  5. When the meat is cooked through, add the bone broth, scraping the browned bits up from the bottom. Remove pan from heat and spread the meat mixture in the bottom of an oven-safe dish.
  6. Peel the cooled sweet potatoes and mash them. Season with salt and pepper to taste and spread over the top of the meat mixture, making little peaks on the top with a fork.
  7. Bake at 200°C (400°F) for about 30 minutes, or until the tops of the peaks begin to brown and the meat mixture begins to bubble.
  8. Serve hot. Reheats wonderfully.

AIP Whole30 Check-In {reintroductions}

Well, as I write this, it's Day 31 of my Whole30 - but I only made it to Day 28 of AIP. You see, I hadn't really told anyone I was doing AIP {don't make that mistake if you intend on respecting your engagement} and so when my mother-in-law told me what we were having for dinner to celebrate my brother-in-law's birthday, I really didn't have it in me to tell her I couldn't eat it {she was stressed enough with party planning as it was}. I just decided that I would begin my reintroductions that day instead of waiting for today, Day 31. 

I have listed my intended reintroduction order below, though that may change depending on other social engagements I may encounter. I will also be updating this post each time I reintroduce a new food.

Tomatoes {+ Eggplant}

Day 28, I had one small, organic, garden fresh, raw tomato at lunch with no noticed symptoms. Later than day, I had regular store-bought, non-organic cooked tomatoes and eggplant, once again with no noticed symptoms.

Day 29, I abstained from eating tomatoes and didn't notice any changes.

Day 30, I had half a large, store bought tomato, raw, at lunch. No symptoms were noticed all day.

Verdict: Tomatoes are safe!

Whole Eggs

Day 31, I had one over-easy egg {conventional store quality} with the yolk cooked fully for breakfast. I noticed a bit of flatulence soon after my meal, and it progressively got worse throughout the morning. Weirdly, it got progressively better after lunch - which had raw tomato. About mid-afternoon, I had a rather disagreeable bowel movement {I'll spare you the details}. 

Day 32, I returned to full AIP {no eggs or tomatoes} to allow my system to go back to functioning normally.

Day 33, I had one over-easy egg {conventional store quality} with the yolk cooked fully for breakfast. I thought things were going well... until they most obviously weren't. To keep things short and sweet, I had a bad bathroom trip and everything has been smelly since.

Conventional, store bought, whole eggs aren't safe!

Egg yolk

Egg White


Seed-based Spices





Other Seeds


Eggplant & Sweet Peppers

Paprika & Nightshade-based Spices

Creamy without the potato-y {Cauliflower Leaf Soup}

I eat cauliflower quite often, usually in the form of cauli "rice", though now I'm going to have to add cauli "cheese" to that as well. 

I always used to throw away the green leaves and tough stem... then I started adding it to my bone broth whenever I happened to have a batch going the same time I was prepping my head of cauliflower.

Then one day, I wondered if I couldn't just eat the leaves and stem.

I ran a quick Google search, just to make sure the leaves were edible, and then got to work on cooking them. I made a soup.

That soup was delicious y'all. It was ultra creamy, just like if I had put potatoes in it. It was full of flavor, a bit of a cross between tasting like cauliflower and cabbage to me. It was also a beautiful pale green color. Everything about this soup was perfect - and it was even preventing waste!

This soup tastes great as is, or with fresh herbs blended in at the end. You can also add other veggies - this creates a decadently creamy soup {cream of broccoli, anyone?}. And don't forget to always find new ways to use up your kitchen scraps - you'll often be nicely surprised!

Cauliflower Leaf Soup

  • The outer leaves and stem of one head of cauliflower
  • 1-2 onions, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup of bone broth
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  1. Wash and chop the leaves and stem. Put in a large pot and add onions, garlic and bone broth.
  2. Add water to cover the veggies and turn on high. Bring to a boil and reduce slightly.
  3. Allow to boil gently until very tender {20-30 minutes}.
  4. Blend very well using an immersion blender and season to taste.
  5. Serve hot or warm.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Meal Planning Made Simple {At least it's simple for me like this...}

Now, to be perfectly honest, I'm kinda on-again-off-again with meal planning. I'm a teacher, so I find myself with several "vacation" weeks/months per year, and I usually don't do much planning or food prepping during those times. When working though, I ALWAYS prep, and I usually plan... and since the hubster and I have both started crossfit, this needs to happen more than ever. I decided to share my super easy method for planning a weeks' worth of meals {all of them!}.

First, I get out my really complicated weekly planner. 

Just kidding. I take a piece of scratch paper and fold it to make eight rectangles. This gives me a space for 7 days and my grocery list. Genius, I know.

I start with breakfast. The hubster and I are creatures of habit, and we pretty much always eat the same thing every morning. He has two or three eggs with some chopped chorizo and a coffee. Mine varies a bit more than his, but this week I have veggies and fruit planned every morning with a mug of bone broth. My protein will either be beef-and-liver patties or canned corned beef.

Lunch is pretty quick to write down as well. I almost always have a salad and the hubster always has chicken with "stuff". Friday though, he eats out with his co-workers and Saturdays we eat tuna and peaches. Sunday is either leftovers or lunch with the grandparents. I'll come back to lunch later...

Then on to snacks. I have a snack nearly every day, but the hubster doesn't always because sometimes dinner is ready by the time he gets home. I usually have a bit of meat of some sort {this week will be rillettes and ham}, with a veggie and a banana. On crossfit days, the hubster eats half a can of tuna, and on other days he "grazes" on whatever we have if he's hungry {I always make sure to have dried sausage, peanuts, chips... for him}.

Finally, dinner. I choose something that is easily reheated for crossfit nights - this week is Sheppard's Pie. I'll prepare it Tuesday afternoon, then reheat it Tuesday and Thursday evenings. We choose one "special" meal for Device Free Friday, such as tacos this week. Saturday nights we often eat at the parent's place, so I write that down as well. {If we have any other dinner plans, I write them down at their day before starting my dinners.} I just leave the other days blank for now.

Lastly, I make my grocery list. {The one pictured isn't complete, because I have some of the things I need already.} I start with breakfast and jot down anything I need. Sometimes I'm specific, such as writing down "ground beef", and other times I'm vague, such as writing down "breakfast veggies" - I'll choose what I want based on what's for sale in the store. Coming back to lunch, I'll now decide what I want in my salad this week, and I'll ask the hubster what he'd like with his chicken. I go through all the menu, making sure everything is either in my kitchen or written down on the paper. I also note how many dinners are unaccounted for - those we also be based on what's for sale.

Then I go a step further and put everything into my phone. I have a super simple grocery list app that I love. Every time a staple item runs out throughout the week {coffee, oil, vinegar, freezer bags, spices, the hubster's snacks...} I enter it into my running list. Then I go shopping.

Once in the store, I don't buy anything that isn't on the list - with a couple exceptions. I always buy a bit extra canned fish and a bag of carrots, just in case. For example, maybe I won't make it to the store Saturday and will need something to eat Monday morning. I will also buy extra meat if it is on sale and freeze it for the week after. This may also come in handy if, for example, our dinner with the parents is canceled - there is still meat in the freezer to prepare and at least carrots as a veggie. {Pro tip - keep a running list of all meat items in the freezer, this helps make meal planning a cinch as well!}

As for prepping everything... I throw together our lunches either Saturday or Sunday, depending on our weekend plans. If I'm not working, I won't bother to do mine ahead of time. I'll also take some time to make a batch of bone broth and to prep my breakfast veggies if they need to be prepped {roast them, slice them...}. I make each snack and dinner the same day, except Thursday's dinner which is leftovers from Tuesday.

And that just about sums it up! I hope my explanations have at least given you some ideas for simplifying your own meal planning.

Have any great tips to share with us? Leave them in the comments below!

Zucchini on Zucchini {Zoodles with Zucchini Cream Sauce}

I've been following Hayley Ziegler's IG feed for awhile now, and lately she's been amazing us with all her inventive uses of zucchini. {Check out my version of her zucchini cheese here!}

Well, I found myself wanting pasta one evening, and I also needed to clean out the fridge before leaving on our mini vacation. We didn't have much in the fridge, but we did have a couple zucchinis.

I thought back to Hayley's feed, and immediately thought of her zucchini yogurt: if she could make yogurt, I could make a sauce! I wasn't sure of the flavor I wanted, but I did have a jar of chicken drippings I had saved from this week's whole roasted chicken so I started with that.

Well, one thing led to another, and I ended up with a very tasty yet simple sauce. I don't mind the green color, but if you wanted a more traditional colored "cream" sauce, simply peel your zucchini beforehand. Just be sure to save the peels to add to your next batch of bone broth to avoid waste.

Zucchini Cream Sauce

  • 3/4 cup chicken drippings (can also sub bone broth)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups chopped zucchini
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried minced onion
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 6 cups zoodles
  1. Put the drippings, water, zucchini and garlic into a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  2. Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes to cook the zucchini. Blend using an immersion blender.
  3. Add seasonings, then the salt and pepper to taste. Allow to simmer until thickened as desired.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Crossfit at Home {Simply Sadie Jane}

I had been lifting weights at home for well over a year, and while I liked it, I didn't love it as much as I had in the beginning. It was just becoming too much of the same thing, over and over again. I needed something new.

Now, I'd heard of crossfit many times before, but I hadn't ever really looked into what it was exactly... so I did. 

And I think I may have fell in love.

I looked hard. It changed every day. People loved hating it. There was a huge community around it. I really felt like this was what I needed.

I looked up crossfit boxes in my local area - and only found one: Crossfit Liege. {Though I just found out that box is opening a second one nearby as well - Crossfit Liege Centre.} This was a good sign, as crossfit boxes are extremely rare in southern Belgium! I spoke to the hubster about it... and he was turned off by the price. Once he started looking into it though, he decided to give it a try with me as well. Buuuut, not right away.

I figured I had some time ahead of me before he was "ready" to try it out, so I looked around online for some crossfit routines I could do at home. I was looking for a really complete routine since I was completely new to this. I found Simply Sadie Jane's website - and her 6 Weeks to Fab at-home crossfit inspired workouts. I decided to give it a go - and I loved it!

Here are the links to each of the six weeks as Sadie designed the program:

And now I'll explain the modifications I made to suit my life and capacities. First, I found a general warm-up I could use before each WOD:

Warm Up

One round of:
Two rounds of:

Modifications: I did my push-ups from the knees, except during Week 6 where I attempted real push-ups {and kind of half succeeded each time}. I did my pull-ups under my kitchen table because I have no place to hang a pull-up bar in my current habitation.

{At the end of Week 5, I saw Turkish Get Ups explained by Jen Sinkler and decided to add them to end of my warm up, just because I liked them so much. I just did a couple on each side during Week 6, and only used a 4 kg dumbbell, because that's what I had.}

Here are the mods I made to the workouts:

Week 1

Day 2: 
I didn't have time for the WOD before leaving for work, so I didn't do it.

Week 2

Day 1: 
I only did one round of the WOD as it hurt my knees, as in, real pain. I have bad knees.

Day 6:
I didn't do weighted push-ups, I simply attempted real push-ups.

Week 3:

Day 6:
I subbed dumbbell thrusters for the wall balls, as I don't have a wall, nor a ball.

Week 5

Day 1: 
I subbed dumbbell thrusters for the wall balls, as I don't have a wall, nor a ball.

Day 2:
I did my pull-ups after my burpees, under the table {no pull-up bar}.

Day 6:
I didn't do weighted push-ups, I simply attempted real push-ups.

Week 6

Day 1:
I didn't do the wall sits and only did four rounds of the WOD as it hurt my knees, as in, real pain. I have bad knees {but they are getting better!}.

Day 2:
I only ran a 3.6k {2 miles}. I don't really want to run more than that at this moment, because of my knees, and because I don't really like running longer than that.

Day 4:
I attempted 80 real singles {I'm not a gifted jumper :p}.

Day 5:
I subbed dumbbell thrusters for the wall balls, as I don't have a wall, nor a ball.

Day 6:
I only ran a 3.6k {2 miles}. I don't really want to run more than that at this moment, because of my knees, and because I don't really like running longer than that.

So each morning, I did my warm-up, a strength workout, a WOD, and I always finished with a cool-down. On days I ran, part of my cool down was the walk home {about 7 minutes}. Nearly every day though, I did the same basic stretching routine, holding each pose for 30 seconds, making this a 7 minute cool down.

General Cool Down

Hold/preform each pose for 30 seconds:

I usually worked out Monday through Saturday as soon as I woke up, before eating breakfast, using Sunday as my rest day. Exceptions to this were when I went on vacation {I didn't workout, besides the hiking and walking we did} and when I was sick {I skipped a day}.

I really enjoyed this routine - it was varied enough to keep thing interesting, yet it kept cycling back to the same basic movements, allowing myself to push harder each time and measure my progress as I went.

As for slimming down, I didn't really notice a difference in body composition. Losing weight was not at all a motivator for starting this routine however, therefore I didn't weigh, measure or photograph myself before or after the 6 weeks. I definitely feel stronger though, and feel this routine helped prepare me for my first time in a box.

And there you have it! I hope this helps you to give crossfit a go at home as well!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Nature's Anti-Everything {Creamy Garlic Sauce}

Garlic is one of nature's most powerful medicines - it has anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-fungal... properties that just can't be beat! It really is a food you want to include in your daily diet.

To help you do so, here's a simple sauce that is delicious over a heaping pile of zoodles!

I first shared this recipe on Instagram, but I thought I would put it on my blog as well for easy reference. Scrolling waaay back on someone's IG feed is no fun ;p

I served this sauce on a plateful of raw zoodles, and topped it with my fish fry, diced fresh tomatoes and a sprinkling of desiccated coconut, just for the "look" of cheese.

Feel free to add any seasoning you like to this sauce and make it different every time you serve it. It also reheats nicely, so make up a big batch and eat a couple times with it.

Creamy Garlic Sauce

  • 3 cup diced cauliflower
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup bone broth
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  1. Boil everything together for 6 minutes, then blend with an immersion blender.
  2. Simmer on medium until thickened, stirring occasionally.